My son calls about once a week, typically on his walk home from work or on his way home from class (sometimes sustainable design, sometimes women’s studies); and his brain at 9 pm is on fire, and the possibilities in front of him unlimited, and his capacity to ponder and purpose and pursue lines of thinking is exponentially expansive while my world steadily shrinks in the dark.
“I bought a new spice rack and a Q-tip holder today,” I tell him. “And I found a chai frosted pumpkin loaf at Trader Joes!”
Which is to say, I’m tired, and not just at 9 pm, but in 2018 and 2017 and 2016.
Has it been this long?
It won’t always be this way.
Once my guys (and the country) are set, I’ll rise up again, right? Just as soon as I dismantle all the photo albums and the bins and the boxes in the basement and the attic, 25 years of home-nourishing that in this empty nest weigh me down.
It’s just around the corner.
57 is apparently the peak of women’s happiness, not 18 or 21 as suspected. My mother died at that peak and my grandmother just before it, like the leaves who let go at the height of their beauty.
What is that poem? I have it somewhere. What’s her name? It’s something unusual.
Monza Naff, that’s it!
Wait, aren’t I FB friends with someone named Monza Naff? Did she write the verse that I’ve turned toward every September when the anniversary of my mother’s passing comes along? (Is that how we became friends. Memory!)
~Urge me to drop every leaf I don’t need
Every task or habit I repeat past its season
Every sorrow I rehearse
Each unfulfilled hope I recall
Every person or possession
to which I cling-
Until my branches are bare,
until I hold fast
Blow me about
in your wild iron sky,
all that’s puffed up,
all that in me needs
to go to seed,
send my shadows to sleep.
through straining night winds
In the passion of moan and pant
The gift of letting go
At the moment of most abundance
In the way of
falling apples, figs, maple leaves, pecans.
Open my eyes
to your languid light,
let me stare in your face
until I see no difference
between soar and fall
until I recognize
in single breaths,
faint whispers of cool air
Show me the way of dying
in glorious boldness
Yellow,gold, orange, rust, red, burgundy.
“At the moment of most abundance.”
Yesterday, I woke with the runs, today I woke angry. “Anger is sad’s bodyguard.” This is sometimes true about anger, especially if it is stuck. But I needn’t fear. She is coming. We saw her yesterday.
Dr. Ford–vulnerable, poised, transparent in terror and anxiety, clear, considerate, accomplished, tender, fierce.
What is leaving is just as certain.
We saw that yesterday afternoon too.
Petulant. Entitled. Blaming.
Kavanaugh and Trump are emblematic of the Patriarchy unhinged; and day after day this creaking of the archaic contraction that has long oppressed so many wakes more and more of us, especially the women–from our illusion that strength and purpose and understanding is outside of us–finally realizing that we can lead–through tenderness, strength and purpose matched with commitment to voicing what is true, while loving husbands and brothers and uncles and sons.
“I can’t think of anything but Kavanaugh and chai-frosted pumpkin cake,” I might have said to my son when he called home last night, but instead I marveled at his capacities, and how I helped bring them to bear, and how if I’m fortunate, they will help make life better for others, and for himself, long after I’m gone.